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am 14. Oktober 1999
I almost didn't finish this book and kept hoping that what story there was would be rescued. I like mysteries and I like science fiction but this book fell down in the end for three reasons. One is that the detective is boring -- he's prone to being suddenly smart after being really stupid. The second problem is that the science is really, really, iffy -- more like something out of a bad conspiracy theory than convincing science. The last, really bad problem is that the author continually violates the "show don't tell" prinicpal of writing, which means the story is often carried forward by heavy blocks of explanation instead of by action. All detectives require some witticisms or habitual sayings and Levinson falls down there, too, making his "hero" prone to TV-style one-liners that don't work in print, especially with his bland and blocky scene-setting. In fact the scene-setting is so blocky it almost feels like this is a series of somewhat related short vignettes rather than a novel, something some editing might have fixed. I finished it hoping to find a saving grace but this book costs too much to buy just because there's one OK giimmick in it.
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am 20. Dezember 1999
Even though Paul Levinson (author of non-fiction works such as DIGITAL McLUHAN and THE SOFT EDGE and former student of Marshall McLuhan and Neil Postman) is well qualified to write a cyberpunk novel in the same league as Gibson or Sterling -- he decides not to do so. Not only that, Mr. Levinson steers clear of the "hard SF" camp even though he is the published author of over 20 stories in ANALOGE.
Instead, the SILK CODE is something much better, an original work with an extremely engaging premise. Levinson has combined anthropology, social history, linguistics, genetic engineering and information theory in the context of a detective story ... and it reads a little like Linus Pauling and H.G. Wells collaborating on an episode of QUINCY. It may be one of the most intellectually ambitious SF novels I've read in the last 10 years.
I do have a few disagreements with the way he handles the passage through Canadian Customs (Mr. Levinson should try dealing with the uniforms facing north sometime!) and as well as his handling of the British character...but that's all pretty minor stuff.
Definitely has my recommendation.
Hugh A.D. Spencer
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am 15. Dezember 1999
I found The Silk Code to be wonderful. I had just finished reading Patricia Cornwell's "Black Notice" and had been disappointed. A pinch of enthusiasm is worth a pound of technique. This was a real treat and had exactly what I had been looking for. It blends mystery and science fiction perfectly. One of the most pleasant aspects of the book was that it clear the author was excited to be writing it and that excitement really shines through. The plot was well thought out, creative and unique. I found the characters to be very believable. I never had any interest in the Neanderthals before, but found myself intrigued enough to watch a Discovery Channel special on them. I always have shelf space for books that expand my interests. The fact that people either love or hate it speaks to its originality. I hope that there will be sequel or at least more offerings from Dr. Levinson.
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am 4. Februar 2000
I think The Silk Code is really two books in one. One story is about a detective -- Phil D'Amato -- with a lot of heart and a great sense of humor. The other story is about a strange people who lived along the Silk Road over a thousand years ago. Paul Levinson weaves the two together in a very captivating way -- he goes so deeply into the Silk Road people that we almost forget about D'Amato, but then we're suddenly back in the present and it all ties together in a way at the end. As a graduate student in anthropology, I especially enjoyed the 750 AD part -- the thinking of the characters in that section seemed very real to me, and that's hard to do for an ancient culture. All in all, a *very* enjoyable book -- almost a new kind of science fiction.
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am 31. Januar 2000
I guess its a question of what you think is worth spending money on, but for me, a great sci-fi book is always worth it. And this book is a great sci-fi book. I've read other books about neanderthals and I've read other books that claim to be mystery sceince fiction, but this book has them all beat. You can't wait to get to the next scene and you're never disappointed. It moves along quickly and keeps you guessing. What more can you ask from a book? I don't for the life of me understand what a few of these people are talking about - this is the best damn money I've spent on a book in quite a long time! Let's hear more from this writer!
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am 22. Oktober 1999
I found this book to be a great disappointment. I was hoping that it would be a refreshing tale, but alas, it was not to be. It just seemed to trudge along, and really going nowhere. Too much description, and not enough action. The science was too far fetch. When you read a space or a magic land fantasy, you know that something outlandish is expected. However, when you place something in a contemporary time period, you kinda expect technology that is much more plausible than this. Frankly, I thought this was as interesting as spending the night reading stereo instructions. Look somewhere else for a good book, because this isn't one.
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am 25. April 2000
Paul Levinson's first book pieces together threads of his brilliant short stories and in the end, is a cohesive intriguing read.
Levinson used one of his short stories as the basis for this novel, and the reader can tell. The first 'section' is brilliant. It captured my interest. I was hungering for more. Then he switched gears. Unlike a previous reviewer, I wasn't enamored with the 750 A.D. portion of the book. I found it tedious. It wasn't overtly significant to the plot.
Overall the book is an enjoyable experience. Forensic detective Phil D'Amato is a great character. I hope to see more books featuring him.
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am 27. Januar 2000
After reading the jacket blurb I was expecting something really intelligent. That's the reason I kept reading until the end, but it never happened. Granted, the author seemed to be up on his science, but as a writer, my granddaughter could do better on a school essay! I actually laughed out loud when I read characters in the eighth century using the word "OK." The author also constantly throws in meaningless "asides," and goes off on tangents only he can understand. This is the poorest writing effort I've ever seen, and I've been reading for forty-five years. Thank God I didn't buy the book.
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am 1. Februar 2000
I read The Silk Code more than a month ago -- and I haven't stopped thinking about it. Bits and pieces pop into my head just about every day. When I was reading it, I was frustrated at times. Lots of loose ends throughout the book, and only some of them are resolved at the end. But maybe that's like life itself. And the ideas in this book, like the possibility that lots of our carbon-14 dating may be distorted, and why ... they just keep coming at you, and stay in your mind. I can't remember the last time a novel stayed with me so long. Thanks to my wife, who bought The Silk Code for me for the holidays.
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am 26. Januar 2000
In The Silk Code, Paul Levinson has crafted a mystery that reaches back to the dawn of humanity for answers to an intriguing mystery. Investigation of sudden death brings anomolies to light, and it's up to Phil D'Amato to find the facts as he reaches into unexpected areas and finds startling answers. One of the things I enjoyed most was spending time with a variety of people who were both interesting and delightful. As a history buff, I appreciated Levinson's invitation to speculate about events in our earliest prehistory. Good read, generous spirit. Enjoy!
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